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Long Sutton shooter called up for Tokyo Olympics

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Sushi and shooting are on Aaron Heading’s menu this summer after the Long Sutton ace was finally picked for his first Olympic Games.

Heading was officially announced as a member of Team GB’s Tokyo squad yesterday (Wednesday) and will bid to add to his three World Championship medals and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold in Japan.

The 33-year-old, who also volunteers with the Sutton Bridge Coastguard, almost lost his leg in a 2014 motorbike crash and so missed out on the last Olympics in Rio.

JAPAN-BOUND: Aaron Heading celebrates ISSF World Cup Shotgun success in Malta back in 2018.
JAPAN-BOUND: Aaron Heading celebrates ISSF World Cup Shotgun success in Malta back in 2018.

But he will get his crack at gold in July and intends to grab the bull by the horns in the men’s trap.

“To get to this day is amazing. I kind of knew I was in but now it is official, it is a massive weight off the shoulders. This is something I am going to really enjoy,” said Heading, who is funded by The National Lottery on UK Sport’s World Class Programme.

“My name was sent to Team GB before Christmas and they had to ratify it and make sure they were happy. I got a message from our sports director asking if I had confirmation.

“So, I phoned my wife at home to look through my post and she said there was a letter. She opened it and started to cry. It was a great moment.

“It has been an incredible journey and it’s still not over. It has been a rollercoaster to get to this point and I am so happy that it is something off my list – this is the pinnacle.”

Heading is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme, with The National Lottery funding allowing him to train full-time and have access to the world’s best facilities.

The impact of National Lottery funding is certainly no secret, with Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes winning 864 inspirational Olympic and Paralympic medals since its introduction in 1997.

And while uncertainty still remains surrounding the Games, Heading is learning to control the controllables and focus on his own ambitions.

“In early lockdown, I was glued to it and following everything. But with the Olympics now planned, I am turning the TV off and trying to focus on what I need to,” he said.

“I have never been to Tokyo so I am so excited. I eat sushi, so this is going to be amazing! There is the actual job in hand but to see what it’s like, I can’t wait for that.

“I will be window shopping at the restaurants. I won’t be indulging beforehand but I’m sure I can sneak in afterwards.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo

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